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What’s On in Edinburgh This Spring

May 18, 2018

 

Edinburgh Airsorted

 

 

Sunny days and cherry blossoms lining the streets means spring is well and truly here. There’s lots going on in Edinburgh this spring, from food and drink festivals to award-winning theatre productions.

Whether you’re an Edinburgh resident or just visiting the city for a spring holiday, here’s our Airsorted guide to what’s on in Edinburgh this spring.

 

Hidden Door Festival

Hidden Door is one of Edinburgh’s coolest arts festivals, and this year it takes place from 25 May to 3 June. Hidden Door opens up secret and abandoned places, transforming them into colourful arts, theatre and music hubs for the week.

The main venues this year are the old Leith Theatre and the former State Cinema building, and the organisers hope to breathe new life into these abandoned venues. You can expect a packed programme of music, theatre, visual art, film, dance, spoken word, late-night DJs and special events, plus pop-up bars and street food stalls to enjoy.

25 May-3 June - hiddendoorblog.org

 

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival

Beer connoisseurs are in for a treat at the Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival this spring. Over 30 craft breweries will be at the event, including local breweries like Hanging Bat Brew Co, Six Degrees North, Stewart Brewing and Fierce Beer. You’ll also be able to sample craft beers from across the world, with breweries from Sweden, Denmark, the USA, Norway, Ireland and Spain taking part.

Held over the bank holiday weekend, 25 to 27 May, at The Biscuit Factory in Leith, you can also tuck into street food from Edinburgh favourites The Pitt, Buffalo Truck, Barnacles & Bones and more. Don’t forget to check out the live music too, as there will be DJ sets from top acts like Mogwai and Two Door Cinema Club.

25-27 May - edinburghcraftbeerfestival.co.uk

 

Film Fest in the City

Make the most of the beautiful spring sunshine in Edinburgh and watch a movie at an outdoor cinema as part of Film Fest in the City. Taking over St Andrew Square for three days, there’s a varied programme of films for all ages – and best of all, it’s totally free!

Some of the films being show over the weekend include Top Gun, Paddington, Moulin Rouge, Thor: Ragnarok, The Greatest Showman, Ghostbusters and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Grab your picnic blanket and popcorn, and enjoy a unique outdoor cinema experience in Edinburgh this spring.

15-17 June - edinevents.com/film-fest-in-the-city

 

Wicked

One of the world’s biggest musicals, Wicked, is coming to Edinburgh this spring. Showing at The Playhouse from 7 May to 8 June, Wicked is a spectacular West End and Broadway smash hit, and the UK tour will transport you to the world of Oz from right here in Edinburgh.

Wicked features a talented cast, including Amy Ross starring as Elphaba and Helen Woolf as Glinda. Tickets are selling out fast, so be quick if you want to snap up a seat at this iconic musical!

7 May-8 June - wickedthemusical.co.uk

 

Scottish Juniper Festival

Who doesn’t love a G&T? Enjoy a glass (or two) of gin this spring at the Scottish Juniper Festival in Edinburgh. Join in the fun at Summerhall over the weekend of 1 to 3 June, as the gin festival returns for its fifth year.

Take part in masterclasses, visit a working distillery, chat to the experts, sample a wide range of Scottish gins, or indulge in some of Edinburgh’s finest gin cocktails. Whether you’re interested in the history of gin or want to find a new favourite tipple, there’s sure to something to keep you entertained.

1-3 June - solid-liquids.co.uk/juniper

 

Leith Festival

If you venture away from Edinburgh city centre this spring, you’ll find the Leith Festival taking place from the 9 to 17 June. This community festival is a celebration of all things Leith, with an eclectic programme covering art, theatre, music, dance, historic tours and more.

Leith Festival kicks off with a gala day and pageant on 9 June, and comes to a close with the Leith Festival Tattoo on 17 June. The full programme of events is yet to be released, but it’s sure to be a good one.

9-17 June - leithfestival.com

 

Rip It Up

The National Museum of Scotland is always worth a visit, and this spring they have a new exhibition celebrating the history of Scottish pop music. Open from 22 June, Rip It Up will take you on a musical journey through Scotland’s most iconic moments from the 1950s to the present day.

There will be lots of memorabilia on show (including stage outfits, instruments, props, films and records), telling the stories of influential indie pioneers and global superstars. This exhibition is a must-visit for music fans, especially as it’s the first major exhibition dedicated to Scottish pop music.

From 22 June - nms.ac.uk/ripitup

 

Meadows Festival

The Meadows are currently full of beautiful spring cherry blossoms, and in a couple of weeks it’ll be the setting for the popular Meadows Festival. This free, volunteer-run event is a great day out if you’re looking for something to do in Edinburgh on a sunny day. This year it’s on from 2-3 June.

You’ll find several stages throughout the Meadows, with live music from local bands like Indigo Velvet, Be Charlotte and Big Fat Panda. There’s also a performance area with everything from belly dancing to swordfighting, a sports area with matches throughout the weekend, and a kids entertainment area with storytelling, hula hooping, craft workshops, face painting and lots more.

2-3 June - jcrossleyzels.wixsite.com/meadowsfestival

 

 

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See how much your home could earn with our clever calculator.

 

 

Airsorted Launches in Brighton & Hove!

May 16, 2018

 

We’re so excited to finally arrive in one of the UK’s most iconic seaside towns.

 

With over 11 million visitors a year and 15% of those staying overnight, it’s no surprise that Brighton & Hove has been chosen as the next UK launch city after London, Dublin and Edinburgh.

But it’s not just the pier and pebble beach that get people down to the coast, it’s the culture and arts scene which seeps through all the regency style buildings, pubs, clubs and art galleries which litter the city centre and beyond.

Not content with the huge amount of London day trippers, Brighton attracts global tourists all throughout the year for a super diverse range of events, including  the Brighton Fringe Festival which runs throughout May, the Brighton Digital Festival in October and UK’s largest Pride event in August, which alone brings in 400,000 visitors!

 

Brighton has always been known as a town of free thinkers and radicals, that’s why we think Airsorted will feel right at home here, with Brighton residents who are already well versed in the sharing economy and ready to take full advantage of our amazing service.

Over the last 10 years the city has also become a leading digital hub, playing host to video game design studios and a plethora of big mobile app developers. We hope that Airsorted can help the cities coders and developers to keep the homes that they love, while traveling the world as ‘digital nomads’, working on projects by beaches and swimming pools, while thousands of tourists have an unforgettable experience in their homes.

Brighton already has a huge amount of AirBnb and holiday lets covering a range of styles and tastes and over the coming year, we hope to work with hosts from some of the city’s most beautiful homes, becoming an essential part of this amazing town.

 

Want to help us decide where to launch next? Register your interest here and let us know! We could be landing in your city very soon.

 

How we raised over £7 million

May 16, 2018

 

 

At the beginning of March, we set out with the goal of raising funds to help us expand into new markets, as well as develop and improve our technology. Within just 4 days of opening our crowdfunding campaign, we had already hit our initial target of £1 million! 

2 months, 5 new cities and over 1,000 investors later, we’re proud to say we raised a total of over £7 million thanks to a hugely successful campaign on Seedrs. 

On the 9th of May, our crowdfunding officially ended. Here are some of the highlights:
 

  • Raised £5 million in Series A investment from investors including Atami Capital, Concentric, Maxfield Capital and Pi Labs in March. These funds were reflected in our Seedrs campaign.

  • Crowdfunding campaign opens, hitting £1 million in just 4 days.

  • Attracted over 1,200 investors from around the world

  • Launched in 5 new cities - Oxford, Manchester, Bath, Cambridge and Toronto (yes Toronto!)

 

Currently operating in 14 cities around the world, our aim is to expand into 38 new cities by the end of 2019 and with this funding, we can achieve this. Additionally, the funding will help us develop technology to automate processes, including smart scheduling, automatic communication with guests and API integrated channel management, all helping to make hosting with Airsorted hassle-free. 
 

If you'd like to take the hassle out of hosting, try our clever property calculator and unlock the value in your home.

 

Are You Kitten Me Right Meow? Introducing ‘Paw’ternity!

May 10, 2018

 

We know the working week can be tough sometimes and so at Airsorted, we do everything we can to make our employees day to day lives that little bit easier. And, with a recent survey totalling over 51 million pets in the UK - we’re clearly a nation of animal lovers - what better way to show our appreciation than by introducing…

Paw’ternity!

That’s right! We’ve introduced ‘Paw’ternity leave! This means Airsorted employees can now spend up to a week working from home helping their new pet settle in. More than enough time to heap a whole lotta love on the latest addition to the family.

 

‘A selection of photos from the Airsorted team. Pawesome!’

 

If you’re interested in joining the Airsorted team, visit our careers page and discover your next big adventure.

 

 

Good Airbnbs Make Good Neighbours: Top Tips for Smart Hosting

June 13, 2017

As Airbnb is a community built on reviews, you won’t get far if you don’t maintain certain standards as a host. Successful (and lucrative) hosting involves creating the right conditions for responsible guests, and as a host, acting responsibly should any issues arise. That responsibility extends to the wider community, and you will not be long hearing about it if disruptive guests disrupt your neighbours. Here’s some tips to avoid any Airbnb nightmares!

Vet Your Guests:
Irresponsible guests are not commonplace, but hosting ones that are is in nobody’s interest. They bother your neighbours, they wreak havoc on your property and they generally cost more money and create more hassle than they’re worth. Airsorted avoid these type of guests at all costs by taking full advantage of the vetting options available on Airbnb.

If guests do not have previous good reviews, you should ask them to complete the verification steps on their profile (which includes uploading a government ID). Also, does their story check out? Don’t be afraid to ask them for a bit more detail about their trip. And remember the golden rule: If there is any doubt as to their intentions or their authenticity, then just kindly decline the booking.

Write and Read Reviews:
Guest and host reviews are the most important indicator of whether you are going to have a positive or negative experience on Airbnb. It is your prerogative as a host to both read a guest’s reviews before you accept a booking request, and then to write reviews for your guests when they leave. The more reviews that are in circulation, the easier it will be to build a responsible Airbnb community. (Note: Guests will also review you as a host.)

Rules + Minimum Bookings:
Home rules can be written into your listing, and a guest must agree to these rules before they complete their booking. There are some standard rules that Airbnb suggest such as No Parties; No Smoking; No Pets, but then you also have the opportunity to add more bespoke advice. Please don’t congregate in the foyer, or Loud music after 8pm keeps our young neighbours awake, provide helpful advice for visiting guests. You can also leave signs or notes at the property as a gentle reminder.

Deposits, Host Guarantee + Insurance:
Even with the most respectable guests, accidents can happen. The best tip is to try to avoid leaving anything of significant monetary or sentimental value at the property. To prevent against any losses, you can then write a security deposit into your listing. Airbnb’s own Host Guarantee also covers losses up to €800,000. However, it is important to make claims quickly as Airbnb generally won’t uphold that claim once the next guest has checked in or once two weeks have passed.

A word of caution: the host guarantee doesn’t extend to third party bookings made for personal travel, even if made by a family member or friend. And it can be prudent to take out additional insurance designed especially for the sharing economy. GUARDHOG is our provider of choice.

Maintenance + Emergency Contacts
Being prepared is the best way to stay calm and react quickly should any issues arise. Make a list of contractors or building maintenance companies that you can call on should you need any quick fixes for your guests. It can be useful to contact them in advance to get an idea of their general availability and pricing (including seasonal / weekend / late night pricing). Leave helpful instructions for guests. Make sure your boiler is serviced and your radiators bled before Autumn. And provide reliable contact information for guests should anything arise, including alternative emergency contact information if you are going to be out of town.

Talk to Your Neighbours!
If you have a good relationship with your neighbours, it can certainly be worth mentioning to them that you are opening your home to visiting guests. Show them your listing and explain to them the steps you are taking to be a responsible host. Reassure them that you do not want your Airbnb to cause disruption to them, check in with them every now and again, and welcome their ongoing feedback. Make sure that they have a contact number for you too, or an emergency contact if you are going to be out of town.

Has Airbnb banned in-person check-ins?

March 17, 2017

Well…not quite, but they have made it essential that guests are able to arrive via self check-in in order for a listing to be classed as “Business Travel Ready”.

Now, we’re not ones to say “I-told-you-so”, but…at Airsorted, we’ve been perfecting the art of the self check-in since day one, so we know a thing or two about its benefits.

Why are self check-ins so critical?
As most hosts can attest, the logistics of getting two people to meet – with all of the delays that can occur along the way – is actually very tricky. Something as simple as a flight delay or a phone on low battery can make for a rather stressful experience for the guest. Business travellers are also usually in town for…well, business. At the end of a transatlantic red-eye flight, they don’t necessarily want a whistle-stop tour of the area. Instead, they just want clear instructions on how to get into the property, and 24/7 support when – and only when – they choose to use it.

How important is this for getting bookings?
Short answer – very! Business travel is an enormous focus area for Airbnb. Business travel on Airbnb has been increasing organically since Airbnb’s first global roll out, but it now has its very own platform. Quality assurance is incredibly important for business travel bookers, and this move to automate the check-in process is a step towards meeting the needs of companies around the world, whose share of the global travel market is substantial.

How will Airsorted get my listing Business Travel Ready?
Getting Business Travel Ready is easy and we can show you how. When we visit your home we will consult on what steps to take so that you can start reaping the rewards of business tourism . Get started now!

 

How Airsorted built the World’s largest management company for Airbnb

Feb. 28, 2017

 

Airsorted turns two this week.

From humble beginnings in my flat, we are proud to have become the world’s largest Host Management Business. Passing our second birthday and now in our fifth office (!), it seems a good time to reflect on where we came from, what we have learned along the way and what challenges lie ahead.

The Early Days

We started small, and lean. In 27 minutes on Boxing Day 2014, I created a landing page promising ‘Hassle-free Airbnb’ and paid £50 for a Facebook advert to push people to our site.

By early March 2015, I had signed up a few clients and incorporated as Airsorted Limited. I had also hired an intern, Herman, and persuaded a developer friend to join the project. We now had to figure out how to do cleaning, laundry and key exchange, as well as the guest communications. I was an Airbnb host myself, so I had a pretty good idea of what was required, but no practical experience of delivering that for more than one property. I invited Daniel (COO), and Tom (Head of Growth) to co-found the project, build out the operation and help meet the market demand that had become very evident.

The team at Second Home, our first office (June 2015)

The Key to Cleaning

We experimented with cleaners from various platforms (Hassle, Handy) but soon discovered that a regular clean and an Airbnb clean are more different than you would think. And that the quality of cleaners on those platforms was hugely variable, despite favourable ratings from other users.

We knew that the quality of cleaning would be key to our success (or failure), so we tested, tested, tested. And you build what you measure, right?

We sent text messages to every guest asking them to rate the latest clean, and promised cleaners a bonus per hour for any clean rated 5*, and an equivalent reduction for cleans rated 4 or below, with unrated cleans at the standard rate.

Tiered payment worked – or so we thought. Cleaning quality improved, and though we were investing our limited funds in subsidising quality cleans, we felt it was the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, the cleaners didn’t feel the same. For the cleaners, even the really good ones, the cost of being paid less for a poorly rated clean outweighed the benefit of being paid more for a highly rated clean.

When we asked the cleaners what they wanted, they were almost unanimously in favour of a flat hourly rate, despite the fact that they had been earning slightly more on average through the tiered system.

We realised that it hadn’t been the tiered system that improved cleaning quality; it was the fact that we were using the feedback provided by guests to engage with cleaners individually on particular issues. Working directly with cleaners, was improving their performance.

Traction & Growing Pains

With help from the Pi Labs Accelerator programme and a commitment to growth, by the end of 2015, we reached our target milestone of 150 managed homes and closed a round of funding just before Christmas.

We set ourselves a new target of reaching 750 homes by the end of the following year, which would be a tall order. Taking churn into account, it would mean signing just shy of 100 homes per month.

In the spring of 2016, I took the bold (some said deranged) step of buying up poster space on the London Underground, at considerable expense.
Attracting people to our website wasn’t a problem. We had hundreds of leads per month. Converting those visitors into Airsorted clients was much harder.

At the same time, we were fortunate to take part in the 500 Startups Growth ‘Dojo’ – a month long workshop / hack to supercharge our sales funnel. The guys at 500 taught us the value of creating mini experiments and extracting learnings as quickly as possible, before iterating on the funnel and re-testing. We understood this intuitively; it was just a question of being faithful and committed to this mantra and executing quickly.

Our sales funnel improved immeasurably, with conversion almost tripling in a couple of months. By summer, and following a second tube campaign, we had increased our monthly signs from approximately 20 per month in February to almost 180 in July.

Growing can hurt. Using NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys, we were learning from our clients all the time. At times this was painful, as our service hadn’t always kept pace with our growing customer base. But it allowed us to identify the most important problems and pain points faced by our customers, and to take action. Our billing was confusing and our customer service was unresponsive. We put a lot of effort into putting these right, and slowly but surely, customer satisfaction improved.

Beth, leading customer service improvements at our fourth office (March 2016)

Fulfilling the Mission

By the second half of 2016, we had demonstrated the elusive ‘product-market fit’ that everybody talks about, and closed another round of fundraising, led by Concentric, to continue in our mission ‘to build a global platform that makes it easy to share your home’.

Unlike our competitors, Airsorted was never designed to be a hospitality company that dabbles in technology. We are a technology company that delivers hospitality, at scale.

We want to create a uniquely powerful backend that removes the hassles of being a host, and an intuitive front end that makes hosts feel comfortable and in control. We’re lucky to have assembled a world-class technology team to get us there. We now need to validate some of our most important assumptions, namely that:

holidaymakers will be more willing to share their home with strangers when the principal hassles of hosting are removed
customers will be prepared to pay for this service around the world

Hope you enjoyed reading.

How can you help?

Please help us find our first Product Manager by sharing this article!

James

Safeguarding Irish Tourism

Nov. 8, 2016

dublin-top-ten-hapenny-bridge-bg

Dublin has a desperate shortage of hotel rooms, according to an industry report published by Jones Lang LaSalle in late 2015. The report titled “No Vacancies: Dublin Needs 3,000 Hotel Rooms Today highlights the pricey predicament facing tourists and business travellers who choose Dublin as a destination.

The report explains that the severe shortage in hotel accommodation is a result of the building sector stagnating in the wake of the crisis, coupled with a significant influx in the number of people visiting Dublin. By 2015, occupancy levels in hotels had risen to 84%. This year, Tourism Ireland reported the best ever month of August and the best ever January – August period for Irish tourism.

While it may seem wonderful that the hotel industry is doing so well, the fact that demand will very soon outstrip supply is a huge inhibitor for growth of the tourism sector. It also means that hotel prices are rising and Ireland is fast becoming a very expensive destination for overseas visitors.

In 2015, the average cost of a hotel room in Dublin City Centre was reported to be €127. That is an increase of almost 20% on 2014 prices. This is particularly important when we consider that 47% of tourists in 2015 were from Great Britain, and they will become increasingly price sensitive as the pound continues to weaken in the wake of Brexit.

The report recognises that Airbnb can and has alleviated some of the strain on room supply. However, the fact that the company continues to face backlash in Ireland means that there is little joined-up thinking about the huge potential for Airbnb to support one of Ireland’s biggest sectors – tourism – which brought in €4.2bn or 4%+ of Irish GNP in 2015. And tourism is not just holidaymakers – in fact, business tourism is now worth €669 to the Irish economy, and is growing by an average of 7% year on year.

Business tourism will be on the minds of many people this week as the Web Summit kicks off in its new home in Lisbon, and the Irish hospitality industry in particular will mourn the huge loss. A homegrown affair that quickly became the biggest and best tech conference in the world, this year it will welcome 50,000 attendees, an increase of over 40% on last year. Lisbon’s gain is certainly Ireland’s loss. According to the organisers, one of the deciding factors to relocate the conference were the exceptionally high hotel prices in Dublin (averaging €190/night with 95% occupancy).

It is important for the authorities to recognise that there is a very real and imminent threat to the growth of tourism is Dublin if measures aren’t put in place to increase the number of rooms available. We need to be very careful not to become complacent and think that people will continue to flock to Ireland, rain or shine. Ireland needs to offer value and a range of price options in order to remain a competitive choice for tourists.

Airbnb therefore should not be dismissed as a passing fad but instead recognised as a genuine sign of the times and a significant opportunity to grow the Irish economy. Not only does it allow individuals to repay exorbitant mortgages recklessly granted during the boomtime years, it also reinforces the long Irish tradition of hospitable hosts welcoming weary travellers into their homes.

Much of the concerns voiced about Airbnb relate to rowdy guests, ill prepared properties, lack of quality standards. However, this is also an outdated argument. Airsorted have recently relocated to Dublin and offer reassurance to guests, hosts, neighbours and authorities. They ensure properties are prepared to hotel standard for every guest and that guests are fully vetted.

Ireland cannot claim to be a centre of excellence for tech and innovation if authorities do not take seriously the fruits of the companies that take up residence in Silicon Docks. Similar to the Web Summit, these companies will be quick to move on if Ireland can’t grow tourism and no longer remains competitive. Either we embrace Airbnb, we start building hotels at a very rapid rate, or we prepare for tourists to go elsewhere.

Host Tip of the Week – Recharge Station

Nov. 7, 2016

We live in an age of technology, and there are no longer many people in the world who go a significant period of time without tuning in. The average smartphone user checks their phone over 200 times per day, and when we travel, the period of time spent without our normal connection to the online world can feel unsettling.

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That’s why one of the first things we do when we arrive at our destination is plug our phones in and get connected. A weary traveller may become frustrated if there isn’t easy access to a power socket, so it’s important to have one readily available and conveniently located.

Why not go above and beyond by providing a convenient ‘recharge’ station? With international adapters, sections to store different devices and the most popular charging cables, your charging station could provide the ultimate sigh of relief for a traveller keen to reconnect as soon as possible.

Do you have any of your own host tips and tricks? Get in touch in the comments below.

Featured Host Stories – Paul and Amy Move to Bristol

Nov. 3, 2016

Instagram: _airsorted

Every Airsorted host comes to us with a different story – some long to travel, and others seek a major life change.

This Featured Host Story comes from Paul, a freelancer who sought a life away from the hustle and bustle of London. With experience renting one spare room on Airbnb, Paul knew he would need some assistance renting the entire property – and that’s where Airsorted came in.

What’s your story?

“My wife and I decided to rent our property through Airbnb as we wanted to get out of London and see what living in a new city would be like. We had been letting out our spare room in the property through Airbnb and liked the ease and flexibility it offered.”

What dream did you follow?

“We both work freelance in creative industries so, while London is a great place to be, we both wanted to spend time in a city that has an artistic sensibility but less of a hectic lifestyle. So we decided to move to Bristol and work within and from that city.”

Why did you choose Airsorted?

“Airsorted seemed like the best option for us as it afforded the most flexibility and least amount of hassle. We were less inclined to take on longer term tenants through an estate agency because we knew there would be occasions whereby we needed the flat back for visits back to London. From a financial viewpoint we also realised that renting through Airbnb would be beneficial.”

What do you enjoy about the service?

With Airsorted we can relax as we know the team there will take control of all dealings with guests and Airbnb. All linen and cleaning is taken care of so we need not worry about change overs. Bar a few initial teething problems communication with myself and the team is always excellent. Any concerns or complaints I may have are dealt with immediately”

Tell us more about your property! What is its best feature?

Paul and Amy's terrace with a view

“I think the best feature of the property would have to be the terrace. It’s incredibly big for somewhere in London yet feels private and homely. The design throughout the property is also very stylishly done, my wife being a designer helps. From a practical point the flat gets a lot of natural light and as a result the apartment stays surprisingly warm throughout the winter.”

What about the area?

“Deptford is a great area of London. It has a lovely combination of cultures from around the world offering many types of cuisine. Over the last few years more ‘Hipsters’ have arrived and as a result better bars and coffee shops have sprung up, nevertheless the area still feels really well balanced and harmonised. It’s an exciting time to be there. The transport options are terrific too, the overground and DLR are very useful for getting into central London.”

Whether you want to travel somewhere new or relocate entirely, Airsorted can guarantee to make hosting hassle free for you. To find out exactly how our services can meet your needs, visit our website.